Why the acquittal of a white farmer is sparking protests across Canada


Wilson-Raybould said in a tweet that Canada "can and must do better", after a jury found Gerald Stanley not guilty of second-degree murder in the shooting death of Colten Boushie.

And, as much as we might know about the shame of Canada's residential schools and the fact that the numbers of missing and murdered indigenous women are staggering, we have done little about it.

"I am very honoured to be here and I'm happy that we got to meet the Prime Minister", said Debbie Baptiste, holding a photo of her son who had been killed in August 2016.

The media release says the vigil is an acknowledgment of the pain and grief that a blatant miscarriage of justice brings to all people. Stanley's lawyers argued that he believed the gun was empty when he approached the vehicle and that his shooting Boushie was a "freak accident".

Since then, supporters from each side have taken to social media in order to raise money for the Stanley and Boushie families - with both pages surpassing $120,000 in donations.

The case is far from the first in which an all-white jury has sat in judgment of a white person accused of a crime against black or Indigenous victims. NWAC calls on the Federal Government and the Canadian justice system to be better and "do better" for the Indigenous people of many Nations on this land.

The focus is now on Wilson-Raybould's ministry, which has always been working on broad reforms to the criminal justice system.

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A wave of protests and vigils swept across the country following the acquittal, with demonstrators seeking to draw attention not only to the Boushie ruling, but to the entire legal system that is said to be failing to provide justice for the First Nations people.

Demographic shifts in recent years have also increased tension in Canada's western provinces: white farmers are declining in number as their children opt out of the family business and move to larger cities. She said rather than cancel the rally, it would likely be postponed, "as tensions are high about this", but has not provided a plan as of yet. "They're not sweeping us under the carpet".

There are clear indications that there are gaps in the Canadian justice system that have to be addressed, from the composition of juries to the way that judges are educated about sexual assault to the courts' understanding of what constitutes the ability to legally consent, to the treatment of indigenous Canadians by the court system. "There's also an appearance of justice", he said.

"We've had 150 years of racist colonial behaviour and policies in Canada, and this decision of the court now becomes part of the fabric of historical violence perpetrated against Indigenous peoples", Varga said in a statement.

Engel said the case does raise questions about the diversity of a jury and how members are selected.

As a former defence lawyer, Singh said he had used peremptory challenges in his past work.

In a case such as this, where there is a real danger jurors might be blinded by racism or stereotyping, it's baffling why the Crown didn't issue challenges for cause over potential bias, Roach said.